Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Husband's Ex-Wife Wants His Sperm

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a young woman who recently married a professional athlete. We both want children, but in a world where so many children are without loving homes, I can't imagine having biological offspring when we could provide a wonderful life for children who would never otherwise have one. My husband has always been supportive of this, but recently he brought up an interesting proposition: His ex-wife, who is older than me and has never remarried, asked him to be a sperm donor. She has a successful career and would not need financial support, but I think the idea is bizarre. He argues that they both have excellent genetics that would be "wasted" if they do not jump at what could be their only chance to have biological children. He said it is no different from donating sperm to a bank, except that he knows the mother will be able to provide well for his offspring. They split amicably due to the pressures of both of their careers. Am I being selfish to say she should find another sperm donor? -- Not My Husband, Houston

DEAR NOT MY HUSBAND: You need to evaluate your position on having children. While your husband seemed to be in agreement with you about adoption, it sounds like he would appreciate the opportunity to bring his own child into the world. I think it is emotionally dangerous for him to be a sperm donor for his ex-wife. That feels like an invitation for the two of them to either get back together or have a close relationship. There is no way that he will just be a donor and move on.

You may want to reconsider your views on giving birth to a child. What if you have a child biologically and adopt a child? Many families do that. No matter what, you need to have a heart-to-heart with your husband. Let him know that you are uncomfortable with his ex’s proposition.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Marriage & Divorce

After Wife's Affair, Couple Can't Talk About Issues

DEAR HARRIETTE: I always thought that my wife and I had the perfect marriage. When I discovered she was having an affair, it hit me like a train wreck. After many weeks of trying to discover who she really is, I found out she has had several affairs throughout our 15-year marriage. I still love my wife, and I think I could forgive her and regain my trust in her. The problem is, she says she is trying to recover from her actions, so she can no longer hear about my problems or respond to any of my questions.

She is now saying I need to see someone to discuss our issues. We are already seeing a marriage counselor, but I think he is too connected to us as a couple. What do you think? -- Additional Counseling, Denver

DEAR ADDITIONAL COUNSELING: The actress Ruby Dee once told me that a marriage stays alive as long as one of the spouses really wants the marriage to survive. She cautioned that if neither partner is willing to fight for the marriage, it will wither.

You seem to be willing to keep fighting for your marriage. Tell your wife that you don’t want to give up, but you need her to be a more active participant in the healing. Talk to your current counselor and ask for advice. He should be able to suggest professional next steps. Give yourself a timeline. To regain trust, you have to work together. Don’t wait too long for your wife to decide to choose you.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Love & Dating | Marriage & Divorce | Sex & Gender